Amazon Expands into the Influencer Industry
On Thursday 24 August, Amazon quietly enabled a self-service tool which allows YouTube personalities to apply for access to their affiliate platform. As an expansion of the existing Amazon Associates Programme, the Influencer Programme puts video content moguls through a rigorous vetting process before granting access to a range of tools and settings making product promotion easier and more profitable for influencers.
Among the many factors considered during the application process, Amazon requests information such as online following size, fan engagement figures and content quality elements. To maintain the integrity of the platform, Amazon are taking no prisoners, with only those YouTubers who can prove their worth making it onto the platform.
Those making the grade will be provided with access to tools which make linking to products and promoting items much easier to incorporate into video descriptions and social media posts.
The Associate Programme had been operating in closed beta for a while, with social media influencers able to apply via an online form to use it, but the introduction of the Influencer Programme signals that the retail giant is fully embracing the power of influencers, with resources for non-YouTube personalities due to be added soon.
Whilst Amazon has plans to expand the new Influencer Programme beyond YouTube, the choice to expand into video content shows just how powerful the platform is when it comes to selling and promotions – with 20%* of YouTube users watching unboxing videos and 50%* of consumers relying on YouTube content to inform their purchasing decisions. *(ThinkWithGoogle)Well-known YouTube names have already signed up to the Influencer Programme to further their reach and add value to their channels, including Felicia Day, of Supernatural and Geek&Sundry fame. Also making the most of the new tool is live programming entrepreneur Mark Cuban and the US-based WhatsupMOMS parenting advice channel, who took advantage of the tools offered through the Amazon Affiliates Programme, which include a short, memorable vanity URL and a personalised recommendations page.
The power of influencer marketing is taking over all industries – and a market leader such as Amazon choosing to invest in the growing trend is proof that this is one digital marketing channel which brands cannot afford to ignore.